Attorney John P. Van Ness

Feb. 7, 1940 — Sept. 6, 2019

John P. Van Ness, 79, passed away peacefully in Parker, CO, on Friday, Sept. 6. He formally lived in Aspen, Woody Creek and Carbondale. He was a defense attorney in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 40 years.

John was the oldest son of Helen and Paul Van Ness, born in Newark, NJ, the tenth generation of Dutch immigrants. He graduated from Montclair College High School, Yale University, and New York University Law School.

He was a world-class duplicate bridge player having won dozens of tournaments around the country, including the 1976 American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) NABC Amateur Pairs. He was an ACBL Diamond Life Master and Certified Bridge Instructor. He was the past President of both the Western Conference and District 17 of the ACBL. In addition, he wrote a popular bridge column for The Aspen Times for many years.

John was elected to and happily served on the Aspen City Council several times. He thoroughly enjoyed living his life in Colorado and was proud to be an Aspen Elk.

A loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend throughout his joyful life, John most enjoyed sharing his love for the Rocky Mountains by bringing visitors to his favorite spots like the Maroon Bells, Independence Pass and the Ice Caves.

John was predeceased by his wife Kathy Sharp Van Ness in 2014. He is survived by his brothers William (Ann) of Saddle River, NJ, and Richard (Helen) of Basking Ridge, NJ, as well as nephew Will and nieces Candice and Paige.

His family would like to thank the many health care providers and friends who assisted John in recent years. A memorial service in celebration of John’s life will be held on Nov. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the River Valley Ranch in Carbondale. Those interested in attending, we ask to RSVP to